July 8, 2011

AJC Delegation Concludes Russia Visit

MOSCOW, July 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An AJC leadership delegation has just concluded a two-day diplomatic mission to Russia.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100816/AJCLOGO )

The delegation met with, among others, high-level officials of the Russian National Security Council and Rosatom, the State Atomic Energy Corporation; the American and Israeli Ambassadors; and leaders of the Jewish community.

Leading AJC's agenda in Moscow was the looming threat of a nuclear Iran. For the third consecutive year, AJC visited Rosatom to exchange views on Iran's intentions and capabilities.

In a meeting with top officials at the Russian National Security Council, the Iran issue again figured prominently, along with the ill-conceived Palestinian bid for recognition of statehood at the UN. AJC also voiced its concern about destabilizing arm sales to Syria, all the more so at a time when the Assad regime is using brute force against its own people.

"AJC attaches great importance to our relations with Russia," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "We visit Moscow at least once a year and also maintain regular contact with Russian officials in the United States. Russia plays a critically important role on the global stage, and we value the opportunity to further our dialogue on matters of mutual interest. In that spirit, AJC welcomes the recent improvement in bilateral relations between the U.S. and Russia, and reaffirms our support for Russia's graduation from the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a Cold War relic which remains one of the thorns in the side of ties between the U.S. and Russia. AJC also appreciates the steady growth in Russian-Israeli relations, marked by increasing tourism, trade and political dialogue. And we are constantly inspired by the revitalization of Jewish life in Russia. At the same time, we remain concerned about Russia's dialogue with Hamas, its approach to Palestinian unilateralism, and its proposed arms sales to Syria."

Harris also appeared live today on the English-language Russian global channel Russia Today (RT) to discuss recent Middle East developments.

The 10-member delegation included lay leaders from around the country, led by Allan Reich, Chair of AJC's International Relations Commission, and was coordinated by Dr. Sam Kliger, AJC's Director of Russian-Jewish Affairs. Prior to Russia, the delegation visited Jordan and Israel for high-level meetings.

SOURCE American Jewish Committee